R&E journal shows why SBC was reformed

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by TomVols, Jan 9, 2002.

  1. TomVols

    TomVols
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    R&E journal shows necessity
    of Southern Baptist reformation
    By James A. Smith Sr.


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)--"By the time we reach the 21st century,
    the R&E will be a true Baptist journal -- for the nation and beyond,"
    Roy Honeycutt, former president of Southern Baptist Theological
    Seminary predicted in March 1996.

    Well, the 21st century has arrived. In only five years, the
    Review & Expositor, an academic journal published by various moderate
    Baptist schools, has published an extraordinarily offensive issue with
    four articles that promote values and theology that are manifestly
    outside the mainstream of Southern Baptist life.

    Honeycutt's statement (made when the R&E was taken without
    permission from Southern Seminary in 1996) demonstrates what's at stake
    in the controversy that is now swirling around the publication of the
    most recent issue of the journal: Is this a "true Baptist journal"? It
    also illustrates what the Southern Baptist Convention controversy of
    the 1980s and 90s was all about and why the conservative resurgence was
    necessary.

    The Dec. 6 Baptist Press stories describing the "Sexuality and
    the Church" issue (dated Spring 2001, although it was released just a
    few months ago) cannot fully demonstrate just how objectionable the
    content is. For those who may doubt the objectionable nature of the
    journal, let me suggest an exercise:

    Order your own copy (P.O. Box 6681, Louisville, Ky. 40206-0681,
    (502) 327-8347, single copies are $9) or check out a copy from your
    local theological library. After you read it, the matter should be
    settled. In the unlikely event that you are not convinced, take the
    next step in the exercise and read it to your congregation -- let's say
    on a Wednesday night. (Pastors, carefully consider this step, if you
    want to keep your job.)

    Start with the lead article, "Embodiment versus Dualism: A
    Theology of Sexuality from a Holistic Perspective." I know it sounds
    very academic, but read to your congregation the author's view that sex
    organs are sources of revelation about God. Don't leave out the
    author's call for a "more accurate model" of God illustrated by a hymn
    to "Mother God." (This is the same hymn that was sung at the Baptist
    Women in Ministry meeting held this summer at the Cooperative Baptist
    Fellowship meeting in Atlanta.) There's much more I dare not quote
    here.

    Turn next to page 173 and read to your members "The Case for Sex
    Education in a Religious Context." Sounds fairly harmless, but read on.
    See what folks think of "comprehensive" sex education in schools that
    includes promotion of both abstinence and contraception. Be sure to
    note the author's definition of "sexually-positive attitudes" as "those
    which promote experiences that are non-coercive, non-exploitative,
    risk-free, and mutually-pleasurable" -- sounds like Planned
    Parenthood's agenda.

    Or how about "The Church's Response to Homosexuality: Biblical
    Models for the 21st Century." The author writes, "The right (the good,
    the honest, the blessed, the ethical) answer [about homosexuality] is
    more difficult than one word, one article can propose." Most Southern
    Baptists I know don't find it difficult to know the right answer on
    this matter.

    Finally, turn to page 263 and read the sermon, "Should Wives
    'Submit Graciously'? A Feminist Approach to Interpreting Ephesians
    5:21-33" where the author offers a "feminist liberationist" revision of
    the passage. Some Baptists would find themselves agreeing with the
    author's rejection of the Baptist Faith & Message's statement on wifely
    submission, in spite of its clear grounding in Scripture. I wonder how
    many of them, however, are comfortable with her rejection of the
    apostle Paul's authorship of Ephesians (see Eph. 1:1). Don't miss her
    call for feminine and non-personal references to God or her citations
    from the feminist theologian who wrote the "Mother God" hymn.

    I'm not suggesting the content of these articles -- other than
    the lead one -- is lurid. Instead, the material is just plain wrong.
    The R&E is certainly not my idea of a "true Baptist journal."

    I'm convinced that the vast, vast majority of SBC churches would
    be outraged over this journal and would want to know if they helped
    fund such an enterprise with their missions support.

    Defenders of the R&E would be quick to reject my proposed
    exercise, noting that the journal is intended for scholars and pastors,
    not common, ordinary -- mere -- laypersons. Really? Aren't these folks
    the same people who vigorously defend the principle of priesthood of
    all believers? Seminaries and theological journals that cannot
    withstand the priestly scrutiny of Baptist believers in the local
    church should not enjoy the financial support of those same Baptists.

    And that's what the SBC controversy was about -- not sending
    missions dollars off to schools that undermine the faith and produce
    ministers who do not trust the Bible. I believe that apart from the SBC
    reformation of the 1980s and 90s -- as difficult and messy as it was at
    times -- the current issue of the R&E would be mainstream, standard
    fare for our seminaries today.

    Perhaps you find that to be unlikely. Consider the following:

    -- The author of the lead article earned a doctor of philosophy
    degree from Southern Seminary in 1991. I'm told her R&E article has
    similarities to her doctoral dissertation.

    -- The author of the article on homosexuality was educated by
    Southern Baptists, served on the faculty of Southwestern Baptist
    Theological Seminary for many years and now teaches at a school
    affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

    -- The author of the sermon on Ephesians 5 credits her views to
    the education she received in Baptist schools.

    -- Many of the faculty members and administrators of the
    Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and other schools that produce R&E are
    products of SBC seminaries and taught at SBC schools. These were the
    SBC's "best and brightest" according to moderates who opposed the SBC
    reformation that caused their departure from our seminaries.

    -- Three former SBC seminary presidents (Honeycutt-Southern;
    Russell Dilday-Southwestern; and Randall Lolley-Southeastern) continue
    to serve as "honorary editors" of the R&E. At the time R&E was taken
    over by the CBF and other schools in response to the conservative
    leadership of R. Albert Mohler Jr. at Southern Seminary, Dilday taught
    at the BGCT-related Truett Seminary and said, "The journal and the
    consortium that manages it will strengthen the new seminaries and
    schools that are training a new generation of Baptist ministers."

    What's interesting to me about the reactions out of Texas and
    North Carolina (and the lack of reaction from the CBF) is that
    virtually all of the attention has been centered on the lead article.
    Why have they not condemned the values and theology promoted in the
    other articles? Do they not find those views to be too liberal? At
    least Truett has severed its R&E ties.

    Southern Baptist churches that give their missions dollars
    through the SBC Cooperative Program can have confidence that they have
    not supported the publication of this objectionable journal. In
    contrast, churches that fund the CBF or state conventions sponsoring
    these schools must grapple with the fact that they have been (largely
    unwittingly) enablers of this kind of theological liberalism. This
    should alarm them and cause them to reevaluate their support
    immediately.
    --30--
    Smith is executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness newsjournal.
     
  2. JAMES2

    JAMES2
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    Unfortunately, all the absolute drivel listed in that article is even more advanced in other "Christian" denominations. It is really a sad state of affairs, and it is all this feminist babble that makes me fear for the state of the church.

    Anyone that would advocate that junk to ANY Christian church is so far out in left field that they are lost.
    James2
     
  3. Bob Alkire

    Bob Alkire
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    The saying one thing and doing something else and the changing the meaning of words is what caused alot of SBC people to start leaving in the 40's and 50's, this is nothing new!
    Read alot of the Sunday School Study Books of the 60's and 70's and you will see why alot of SBC Churches were not using SBC stuff.
     
  4. MarciontheModerateBaptist

    MarciontheModerateBaptist
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    The only thing that is shocking about the articles in the R&E Journal is the fact that you are shocked by them. Southern Baptists (and I speak as one) are so far behind in their discussions of relevant, modern issues that it is almost laughable - if it were not so sad. Nothing in the articles is heretical - nothing. It is not heretical to speak of Mother God simply because many Southern Baptists think it is. Given, it is different, but not heretical or unbiblical. God seems to each individual what we need him to be. To a woman who has experienced male domination, God as male is hard to relate to. Besides, I have never understood how a Spirit can have a sex - I was under the impression that genitals were involved in the differentiation. Sure, the biblical writers refer to God as male - any Hebrew living 3-4 thousand years ago would.
    As far as homosexuality and birth control are concerned, it is high time the Southern Baptist denomination begin honestly struggling through these issues. "Momma said it and I believe it" won't do.

    In Christ,
    Daniel Payne
     
  5. TomVols

    TomVols
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    Daniel,
    Your statement, based entirely on faulty logic, insulting demeanor, and ad-hominem, is entirely the reason why the grass roots SBs reformed the convention, and rightfully so. This journal was so radical that even some of its contributors backed away and even resigned their support (Baylor).
     
  6. MarciontheModerateBaptist

    MarciontheModerateBaptist
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    TomVols,

    I have found that when someone has a difficult time responding to a different viewpoint, he/she will inevitably say the opposition is utilizing "faulty logic, insulting demeanor, and ad-hominem."

    Daniel Payne
     
  7. TomVols

    TomVols
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    And I have found it impossible to respond to ad-hominem and faulty logic such as you have displayed. So I suppose we're at an impass ;)
     
  8. MarciontheModerateBaptist

    MarciontheModerateBaptist
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    TomVols,

    Agreed. I look forward to your posts. Thanks for the welcome in the introductions section [​IMG]

    Daniel Payne
     
  9. TomVols

    TomVols
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by paynedaniel:
    TomVols,

    Agreed. I look forward to your posts. Thanks for the welcome in the introductions section [​IMG]

    Daniel Payne
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    While we may disagree, I hope we are not disagreeable :D And I like to poke fun, especially at myself. Welcome again!
     
  10. MarciontheModerateBaptist

    MarciontheModerateBaptist
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    I just re-read "Embodiment vs. Dualism" in the Review & Expositor. I think Ms. Townsend makes some very good points, specifically in relation to intersexual relationships and an ecological gospel message. I do not agree with all her conclusions, but I did not read the article to agree with all her conclusions. I read it to challenge me to think deeper. I am sure we are all very mature in this room, but I trust the references to menstruation, erections and ejaculations do not automatically scare people off. God created our bodies, and I am confident we can learn something about God through the revelation of our bodies.

    In Christ,
    Daniel Payne

    "The heart of the biblical message is that we should believe in the life which "lives" us. To become aware of this is to be reborn. We need to recognize this connection, grasp this truth, and achieve the experience of this life. Only then will we be truly human beings, men and women who understand ourselves in the light of God... What God intends for all of us is an existence in which we know ourselves to be manifestations of the divine." - Willigis Jager
     
  11. Rev. Joshua

    Rev. Joshua
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    One of the editors of the R&E is a good friend, and I read the issue in its entirety when it came out. Everything I saw struck me as typical as mainstream Christian scholarship.

    I think it is important to note that no one at Baylor/Truett complained until 2 months after the issue came out (when the BP article ran). This tells me that they pulled out due to political pressure, not out of doctrinal outrage.

    In addition, I find it interesting to note that, at the time the BP article ran, not a single subscriber had called to complain.

    Joshua
     
  12. TomVols

    TomVols
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    Joshua,
    Valid points. My understanding is that Truett had some complaints from within and that they also did not want to be risky since the venture in Texas is new. And I am not surprised that no one has complained among R&E subscribers. People who subscribe to R&E will be like-minded. I have heard that there have been some libraries that are refusing to shelve the new R&E.
     
  13. Rev. Joshua

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by TomVols:
    I have heard that there have been some libraries that are refusing to shelve the new R&E.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    On what grounds? What libraries? Generally librarians are the first line of defense on freedom of speech/information issues.

    Joshua
     
  14. rhoneycutt

    rhoneycutt
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    Tom
    Are you serious? A library refusing to shelve this issue? I would be shocked unless it is one of the SBC seminaries, Bob Jones University, Falwells school or something of that flavor.
    Please elaborate on what you have "heard"
    Russell
     
  15. TomVols

    TomVols
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    I probably should not have brought that up because that would be divulging some information that I probably shouldn't divulge. My sincerest apologies. But they are not SB seminaries. One such school also refuses to shelve Calvinistic books or journals, so that should give you some idea. I do not know if the SBC seminaries are shelving this copy of the journal or not. But this is hardly surprising. Librarians are very select in what they shelve due to limitations on funding, space, etc. Anyone who has worked in or with a library knows this.

    [ January 11, 2002: Message edited by: TomVols ]
     
  16. Rev. Joshua

    Rev. Joshua
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    Tom,

    We'll pretend you never said anything ;). I do know that on a national level, the professional librarian's association (which I'm sure has a clever acronym) is very, very, very anti-censorship.

    Joshua
     
  17. TomVols

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    Yeah, that is an interesting acryonym. By the way, I don't consider a private library's refusal to obtain or shelve certain works to be censorship. I think that's a word that we throw around too much in the wrong context. I have no problem with this copy being shelved. I just don't remember what the Dewey Decimal number is for "Inept theology & Journalism" :D
    I suspect it's probably found near the O.J Simpson autobiography, the National Enquirer, and the "Bible Code" book :eek:
     
  18. Squire Robertsson

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    While the edition in question may not be available for public viewing, the libraries, I am familiar with, would if they subscribe to the Journal in the first place, keep this edition back in "the stacks" for academic use.
    Hoping to shed more light than heat,
    Keith
     
  19. TomVols

    TomVols
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by The Squire:
    While the edition in question may not be available for public viewing, the libraries, I am familiar with, would if they subscribe to the Journal in the first place, keep this edition back in "the stacks" for academic use.
    Hoping to shed more light than heat,
    Keith
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    I'm sure that's the case, although based on things I've seen and heard, we can't assume it. I've seen IFB libraries at colleges throw out journals they did not agree with.
     
  20. MarciontheModerateBaptist

    MarciontheModerateBaptist
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    I am not certain about other SBC seminaries, but New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has the edition on the shelf.

    Daniel
     

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